T Nation

Elliot Hulse Only 4 Exercises Program

Hi All,

Hitting 35 isn’t too far away for me, and time/energy/motivation is harder these days. BUT I recently stumbled across this workout from our boy Elliot hulse (video below):



Was wondering if anyone ever ran this program/had any thoughts on it. Kinda leaves reps/sets/frequency up to the user.

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It’s very similar to the Mike Mentzer consolidation routine, I did that years ago on a once a week frequency, as recommended by him, and became fatter and out of condition.

Multiple sessions a week would be better, also some people need to work specific body parts - my arms would not get enough from this.

Yeah I’m thinking 4-6x a week, alternating days and throwing 20-25 of treadmill work. Think it’ll work? Trying to get back in shape, trim up

Disclosure: I did not watch the video, much less run the program.

There is no doubt that doing those four exercises grouped in that manner would be infinitely more productive than doing nothing at all, and would provide at least adequate stimulation to all muscle groups. So if this program appeals to you, by all means run it.

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First of all, I love this idea. The strength workout I was doing right before COVID hit incorporated two days of these workouts - though I paired them differently (deadlifts and chins one day; squats and dips the other) and did them as strength circuits (Chad Waterbury has a T-Nation article that influenced me here).

I also added a pressing only day (CT’s HP Mass that starts with OHP, moves through incline presses and finishes with flat bench) . I also experimented with adding a back-only day and doing extra back work on squat/dips day.

It was one of my favorite routines and I was bummed to have to give it up in March when the pandemic hit and the gyms closed. Strongly considering running it back now that I’ve joined a new gym.

It could work well, the only way to know for sure is to do it and make adjustments if you need to.

On the low end you would squat twice a week and DL twice a week and on the high end 3 times a week for each? I could see something like MWF and alternating the workouts so that you would squat twice and DL once, one week, and DL twice and squat once, the following week. Alternating workouts 6 days a week, these 2 workouts that is, seems like a bit much especially when you’re adding in running.

Yeah I’m debating that. The other guy mentioned hitting his back hard while he ran this, and I’m mildly thinking of adding CT’s back specialization program

Pavel Tsatsouline went further with hes deadlift and press only power to the people workout. I did that for a several month period a few years ago, I did salt in a row and then did a prowler pushes / loaded carry day here and there. Probably made more gains in that several months than i did in the previous decade.

If indeed time, energy and motivation are hard come by then such a minimalist approach will keep things ticking over until such a time when you do have more time, energy and motivation.

Best of luck

I like Dan John’s classification of movement:

Push, pull, squat, hinge, loaded carry.

I would add some form of carry to this plan.

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Personally, I would swap the chin-ups and the dips.

I find the fatigue to my lats and grip from chin-ups affects my deadlift (and vice versa), and I find that squats leave my shoulders feeling a bit sub-par for dips (and vice versa).

I also definitely agree with @strongmangoals, loaded carries would be an excellent addition.

Consider, perhaps:


  • 1A: Deadlifts / 1B: Dips
  • 2: Suitcase’ Carry: Max distance in 2min with a given weight


  • 1A: Squats / 1B: Chin-Ups
  • 2: Trap Bar Carry or Farmers’ Carry: Max weight for 30-40m
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I’m not sure I k ow what’s meant by a, “hinge”.

I ha e no problem running this plan, but I’m assuming I’d junk the 20 minutes of treadmill work?

And with a good diet/low calories, ya think this’ll help drop some weight?

Bend at the hips, straight back. Deadlift, rdl, etc

I ha e no problem running this plan, but I’m assuming I’d junk the 20 minutes of treadmill work?

I think steady state cardio is seriously underrated for its benefits. It’s more than just calorie management - also great for the long term health of your heart.

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Has anyone actually ran this?